Stats & Info: 2012 London Olympics
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LeBron James' triple-double helped lead the United States to victory over Australia, but if the U.S. is to move on to the gold-medal game, it will need the 3-pointers to fall against Argentina.
The U.S. improved to 14-0 against Australia in FIBA tournaments, but the competition will take a step up in the semifinals against Argentina, the third-ranked team in the FIBA rankings.
Argentina has two of the three leading scorers in the tournament, with Luis Scola averaging 19.7 points a game, and Manu Ginobili 19.3, a combined 39 a contest. But in the group play game between these teams, the United States held those two to 27 points.
In that contest, the U.S. led by only one point at halftime, but pulled away by outscoring Argentina 42-17 in the third quarter. The key, as it has been throughout the tournament for the Americans, was 3-point shooting.
The U.S. went 19-46 on 3-point shooting in that game, and through its first six games, has made 96 3-pointers, 44 more than any other team. The Americans are shooting nearly 45 percent from 3-point range in the tournament, also best of any team.
When the 3s aren’t falling, the Americans have struggled. In the close call against Lithuania, the U.S. went just 10-33 on 3-pointers. It’s also led to some tight scores early in games. The U.S. went 8-25 against France in its opener, and only led by one at the end of the first quarter. Against Tunisia, the Americans were 10-25 on 3-point shooting, and led by six at the end of the first quarter.
But 3-point shooting hasn’t been the Americans’ only strength. The U.S. has had 114 second-chance points, no other team has more than 75. Team USA also has 159 fast-break points, with no other team having more than 98. However, potential finals opponent Russia has allowed 43 fast-break points, fewest in the tournament.
The Americans are also performing defensively, leading all teams with 71 steals, fueling their fast-break offense. However, Argentina has allowed just 26 steals, the third-lowest mark of the tournament.
An area of concern could be offensive rebounding. In the near-loss to Lithuania, the Americans were outrebounded 36-24 on the offensive glass.
LeBron James has already made his mark on these Olympics, with a triple-double against Australia, the first by an American man in the Olympics. With the potential for two more games, James could keep writing his name in the record book. He enters the semifinal game against Argentina with 236 career points in Olympic play, third-most all-time by a USA player, trailing only David Robinson and Michael Jordan.
With a gold medal, James could also become the third player to win an NBA Championship and a gold medal in the same year, joining Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
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Carmelo Anthony and Team USA set US Olympic scoring records in a 156-73 victory over Nigeria on Thursday. The 83-point win is bigger than any win the Dream Team had in 1992.
The Olympic record for points in a game is 55 by Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt against Spain in 1988.
Anthony scored his 37 points in just 14:29. If he had played the full 40 minutes at that same pace, he would have scored 102 points. If the game was 48 minutes long, like an NBA game, and he had played at that same pace, he would have scored 122 points.
It’s the largest margin of victory (83 points) by Team USA in Olympic men’s basketball history, breaking the previous record set in 1956 when Team USA beat Thailand by 72 points, 101-29. The 156 points are the all-time Olympic record (previous US high was 133, vs China in 1996).
The team also set US Olympic records for 3-pointers (29), 3-point attempts (46), field-goal percentage (71.1) and field goals (59) and tied the record for assists with 41. Team USA broke the US Olympic record for 3-pointers by halftime, making 14 in the first half.
To put the 83-point win in perspective, the five other Olympic men’s basketball games on Thursday had a combined margin of 53 points (Spain and Russia by 1, France by 8, Australia by 20 and Argentina by 23).
Team USA scored 45 transition points in the win, more than EIGHT of the 12 teams in the Olympic basketball tournament have scored in their first three full games. Team USA has scored more than twice as many transition points through the first three games as the next closest team, Spain.
DREAM TEAM TRACKER
The 83-point victory is bigger than the Dream Team's biggest Olympic win, a 116-48 defeat of Angola. It’s early, but through three games, the 2012 version of the Dream Team has been more dominant than the original Dream Team. They are averaging more points and winning by a bigger margin.
PHELPS IN THE RECORD BOOKS AGAIN
Michael Phelps won the gold medal in the 200m Individual Medley, making him the first man to win the same individual swimming event at three straight Olympics. Phelps has 20 career Olympic medals, nearly twice as many as any other Olympic swimmer or any other American male, regardless of the sport.
In the same race, Ryan Lochte won the silver medal in his final scheduled swim, giving him 11 career Olympic medals, tied for the second-most ever by an American man and tied for the second-most ever by any men’s swimmer.
BANNER DAY FOR USA
The United States had its best day of the competition, winning six golds and eight total medals to take the lead in the overall medal count and match China with 18 gold medals. The United States won five swimming medals, plus gold in gymnastics, rowing and its first-ever gold medal in judo.
Getty Images/Adam PrettyJordyn Wieber is trying to do what hasn't been done at the Olympics since 1996.
The gymnastics portion of the Olympics began on Saturday with men’s qualifying, and the women begin competing on Sunday. Both American teams are filled with medal hopefuls, and the women are favored to bring home team gold.
The United States women have won team gold once previously, at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, when an injured Kerri Strug nailed her final vault to secure first place.
Since then, the United States has medaled in each Olympics, winning silver behind Romania in 2004 and China in 2008.
Americans Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas are the two favorites to win the individual all-around, and either would be the third straight American to win gold in that event, following Carly Patterson in 2004 and Nastia Liukin in 2008.
Wieber is the 2011 world champion, but Douglas edged her at Olympic Trials. Recent history bodes poorly for Wieber: in the previous 40 years, the only reigning world champion to win Olympic gold was Ukraine’s Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996.
Other American women are also expected to contend in individual disciplines. After winning bronze at last year’s World Championships,
Aly Raisman seeks to win the United States’ first gold medal in floor exercise. McKayla Maroney took gold in the vault at World Championships, and she could be the first American gold medalist in that event.
Don’t forget the United States men, who finished runner-up to Japan in 2004 and won bronze in Beijing, marking the first time they medaled in the team all-around in consecutive Olympics.
The Americans surprised everyone by finishing first in Saturday’s qualifying, though scores are wiped clean before Monday’s team final. The United States’ only team gold medal came in the boycotted 1984 Olympics.
Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Danell Leyva posted the best individual all-around score in qualifying, with teammate John Orozco finishing fourth.
Either could join Paul Hamm (gold in 2004) and Peter Vidmar (silver in 1984) as the only Americans to medal in the individual all-around.
Leyva also placed third in the horizontal bar, for the best apparatus result by an American in qualifying.
Jonathan Horton was fifth on horizontal bar, an event the United States men have had recent success in, with Hamm winning silver in 2004 and Horton winning silver in 2008.
Elsewhere, Jake Dalton tied for fourth in floor exercise, and Sam Mikulak qualified fourth on vault. Winning a medal in either event would be an accomplishment.
An American man hasn’t medaled in vault since 1984, and the last U.S. medalist in floor exercise was Peter Kormann in 1976.